Heilige Drei Könige

Heilige Drei Könige is celebrated on 6th January. In some areas of Germany it is a public holiday.

The day celebrates the arrive of the three wise men from the east in Bethlehem. In the Evangelical Church it is known as Epihanias – similar to the English name of the day in some countries “Epiphany”.

On this day, groups of children known as Sternsinger go from door to door and sing a song or recite a poem or prayer. They then write in chalk above the door C+B+M and the number of the year with three crosses, eg. 20*C+M+B+08. These letters stand for the latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “God protect this house”.

The Sternsinger also collect donations for childrens’ charities.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

Comments

  1. I realised after I had written the text, that Maria said in the podcast 20*C+M+B+08 is for Casper, Melchior and Balthazar – Wikipedia says it is for Christus mansionem benedicat.

    Perhaps someone can tell us which is correct?

  2. I realised after I had written the text, that Maria said in the podcast 20*C+M+B+08 is for Casper, Melchior and Balthazar – Wikipedia says it is for Christus mansionem benedicat.

    Perhaps someone can tell us which is correct?

Trackbacks

  1. […] will be familiar with the situations that she describes, such as the first knock on the door of the Sternsinger, the madness of the Karneval season, or just the amazement at the end of each year that, after […]

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